Wake Forest will be without starting quarterback Sam Hartman for “an extended period” due to a non-football issue, the school announced on Wednesday, but head coach Dave Clawson insisted Hartman would return at some point this season.
Clawson said Hartman underwent “a medical procedure” Tuesday night after seeing a doctor during a practice session earlier in the day. The school didn’t elaborate on the nature of the situation, citing privacy laws, but Clawson said it was “one of those things that could happen to any of us.”
Clawson said he didn’t want to speculate on a timeline for Hartman’s return, but the QB, who scored 50 touchdowns last season, was in practice Wednesday and addressed the team afterwards. .
“He just wanted these guys to see him and know he’s okay,” Clawson said. “He wanted to come here with a smile and see his teammates. He’s in a good position. … He’s a hugely motivated guy. Football is very important to him, he loves Wake Forest, and he just said, ‘The guys, it’ll be fine.'”
Hartman led Wake Forest to an Atlantic Division title last season and a Gator Bowl victory. He is one of 16 Power 5 QBs in history to record a season with 50 touchdowns.
Hartman sought help from the coaching staff during practices on Tuesday, and testing revealed an issue that Clawson said required medical intervention. In a statement released by the school, Hartman said he was eager to begin his rehabilitation.
“Tuesday was a frustrating day, but I’m extremely grateful to our medical staff and Dr. Chris Miles and Niles Fleet for sticking with me through this process,” Hartman said. “I can’t wait to start this rehabilitation process and I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received from my family, my teammates and my coaches.”
Hartman started as a freshman for Wake in 2018 before getting injured late in the season. Jamie Newman then took over on offense and held the position for much of 2019. Hartman returned to the starting job in 2020 and has had 65 touchdowns in 23 games since.
“Sam Hartman is the true embodiment of a leader and is one of the finest young men I have had the pleasure of coaching,” Clawson said. “Sam was intensely focused on improving his teammates throughout the offseason and helping our program continue to achieve great things on the field. Plus, he’s an amazing person in the community and in the classroom. We look forward to having Sam back on the pitch as soon as he can, and in the meantime, Sam and his family have the full support of our coaching staff and our program in his recovery.”
With Hartman sidelined, Mitch Griffis will be the interim starting quarterback. Griffis is the latest Wake QB to throw a TD outside of Hartman – who came in late against Clemson in Game 1 of 2020.
Hartman still has one year of eligibility left, and although he has repeatedly said he is unlikely to return for 2023, he has left the door open should unforeseen circumstances arise.
“My goals are set,” Hartman said in July. “Being worried about it now, what’s the point? It might be the best option…but I’m glad it’s that and ready for the next chapter and really locked into this year.”